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In spite of an element of paradox and extravagance that
occasionally disfigured it, theEmile was by far the most consider-
able book written on education in the Eighteenth Century:
judged by effects on thought and action, indeed, perhaps the most
considerable book ever written on education. It was immediately
translated into several languages and everywhere it aroused a
deep interest in the problems of childhood and youth, both in
small ways and great. Society women began to nurse their own
babies, fathers and mothers attempted to bring up their children
as Emiles and Sophies, some more enthusiastic than the rest kept
diaries in which they recorded their observations on their little
ones, many of the nobles (especially in Germany) installed
workshops in their homes to give their sons a training in some
craft, writers produced a new literature for the young. Most
important of all was the effect on those seriously interested in
education, as statesmen or educators. Even those who did not
accept all Rousseau's principles realized, as they had never done
before, the fundamental part that education must play in a
thorough reform of society, and were ready to give earnest con-
sideration to any new schemes that gave promise of educational
betterment. And with all this, there was general agreement that
no form of education could be regarded as satisfactory which did
not take account of the nature of the child.


By a curious chance there appeared in 1763, a year after the
Smile, another book, which though much inferior from the
literary point of view, and long since forgotten, was scarcely less
influential in its own day. This was the Essay on National Educa-
tion of Louis-Rene de la Chalotais (1701-1785), Attorney-
General to the Parliament of Brittany. Personally La Chalotais
was a man of hard, arrogant, imperious character, but all the
better fitted on that account to be a protagonist in the fight
against political and religious privilege. Two Reports on The
Constitution of the Jesuits (1761-1762), drawn up by him for the
Parliament of Brittany, at a time when feeling was running high
against the order, were largely reponsibie for their expulsion from
France in 1764. In the compilation of these Reports on the basis,